When you hear the word science, what image comes to mind? Perhaps you picture a laboratory stocked with bubbling concoctions in beakers, a person in a white coat carefully (or maybe furiously) mixing solutions. If you imagine a scene like this, then the prospect of conducting science experiments at home may seem daunting or even impossible.
Parents, have no fear. Science is simply exploration. It involves asking questions about the way the world works and then taking a calculated approach to answering those questions. Learning science at home is not only possible; it’s easy.
Why should I do science at home?
Education should extend beyond the four walls of the classroom. Some of the most meaningful learning can happen at home. When your children conduct science experiments with you, they feel supported in their academics. Science at home encourages children to seek authentic learning opportunities in the world around them rather than believing that learning only happens at school. When you do science at home, you are encouraging your child to ask questions about the world. You might learn something from these activities too, which will make a powerful impact on your child’s mindset. You will promote the idea that people can be lifelong learners.
Resources to get you started
This summer, Curriculum Pathways added some new elementary science labs. These lessons are not just for teachers; they are easy for parents to use too. Are you concerned that you don’t have a well-stocked laboratory? Don’t worry: all of the activities use common household materials. Do your knees start shaking at the word science because it wasn’t your strongest subject in school? It’s okay: all of the lessons include academically sound information about various science concepts. While the labs are designed for elementary students, children of all ages will likely enjoy the hands-on nature of the labs while reviewing foundational science concepts. Some of the new resources are listed below.
- Density Bottle: students will learn about density and viscosity by layering three different liquids in a bottle and observing how they interact with one another.
- The Forces of Flight: students will learn about aerodynamics and the four forces of flight. They will design a paper airplane and examine how the design affects its ability to fly.
- Floating Crayons: students will learn about density and buoyancy and the relationship between them. They will repeatedly add salt to a container of water to make crayons float. Don’t have a digital scale to measure the salt? Not a problem: 1 teaspoon is approximately 4.2 grams. The Incredible Floating Crayon is a modified version of this lab that uses teaspoons as a unit instead of grams.
These labs are just messy enough to excite children, but cleanup is easy enough to please parents. The interactive design of these online resources guides students through important science concepts. Students can check for understanding after learning these concepts.
Fun science experiments
If you want to conduct some fun and, at times, messy experiments, take a look at Bring science home and 8 simple science experiments you can do at home. While these sites do not include guided lessons with content and interactive questions, they do offer cool activities that will get your child excited about science. After completing these labs, your child may have many questions about “why it works,” which will lead to engaging family conversation.
Don’t forget about computer science
If you have a mobile device, check out the free app CodeSnaps. This application serves as a platform for coding. Technology is just as much a part of science as experiments are. Careers in programming are on the rise, so it is vital that kids start learning computer science skills. Not only is coding important to developing these skills; it’s also fun! The CodeSnaps app programs directions for a robot to follow. The supported robots for this app include Sphero, SPRK, SPRK+, and Ollie. Students can do many cross-disciplinary activities with CodeSnaps, some of which you can find here. And our YouTube channel has videos to help you get started!
These activities do more than just offer opportunities for your child to learn science. They also provide an opportunity for your family to have conversations and build memories together. Go ahead and give science a try!